Fife Journey companion story to the YA novel, The Estate, by Laura Bendoly

It is in Fife, the Scottish county just south of the capital, Edinburgh, where Eileen Morgan arrives in The Estate. This country is layered in history and legend. Not only is the estate where Eileen stays a contested property, so too is the surrounding county. The Scottish lowlands were at first local Briton, then Celtic, then Norse, then Roman, then French, then English mixed with Norse, and always poor. Like the Irish, the people of Scotland are a population on the fringe, never the wealthy, popular, or gentlefolk. Their families, like their sports and their drinking, are vengeful and rowdy. They keep to themselves and dislike outsiders. Eileen counts as one. Though Scots consider the English their enemy, its noble class the worst of all, what will they make of the first American visitor to a tiny village? Is she a Pom (English) in hiding? A carpetbagger putting stakes down on their land? Who can know? Who can trust her? Certainly not the locals.

The Rutherford Castle, whose owners are Eileen's hosts is a forbidding place,

Craggy and fog-logged in turn, Fife is no vacationers dream. Eileen finds she is either crashing into standing stones, slipping on moss-draped rocks, losing her way in the forest or getting turned around in sudden fog banks. Sound like recipe for a story? It did to me, as I spent a summer just like it in this place back in 1986. Despite the weather and the cautious locals, I go back every chance I get, so in love am I with the spirit of the place, the haunted caves and discoveries of ancient objects which abound in that country.

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